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The minimum age is 18, I do believe. But get the costume done right before then so you don't have to wait any once you get there! (Assuming you aren't)
First off, that looks awesome. I knew these things could produce sound, but the vortex is a novel idea to me.By no stretch of the imagination am I an expert, or qualified to make suggestions, but if I may be so bold- if the electrode doesn't have to be the same thickness, could you not hide a slightly smaller rod inside it up until the point where it arcs around the magnet, and have that rod arc singularly to a separate cathode (?) hidden behind the ring magnet to use as the primary sound producer, and inhibit the sound producing qualities of the vortex? In which case you would have the clearer sound of the regular arc (which would be hidden behind the sheer awesomeness of the vortex).
I'm late around here, but I'm sure that in your studies you have been on the 501st.com and poked around in the armored cavalry detachment, right? If you don't find your answers here, someone over there has em!
You gotta love the snow mando! I found this poking around looking at different people's methods for smoothing out that darn cross pattern (I've picked up a pallet of the stuff at a yard sale but it has it on BOTH sides D:) Seems sanding it out will be the best option for time and money.Good 'ible for people wanting to start out, showing them it isn't that scary!
Get on the 405th.com forums. They have everything halo cosplay and some, with a community that will take you from zero to master on master chief's armor
"Was it kosher?" Oh that was great xD Made me laugh right there